An investigation was launched into 50 villagers in Şırnak (Şirnex) province in Turkey’s southeast, on charges of “desiring to return to their village to aid and abet a terrorist organisation”, Mezopotamya Agency reported.
The villagers recently applied to the Governorate of Şırnak to be allowed to return to their village, which had been evacuated in 1988 for security reasons due to the armed conflict between the Turkish army and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The villagers said in their petition that they wanted to return to their villages, which had by now been made secure by Turkish forces, and to engage once more in agriculture and livestock breeding in order to make a living.
In response to the petition, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) district chair Hulusi Adıyaman reported the villagers to the police, saying that “the demand of the villagers is not usual, and they will help the terrorist organisation”.
Subsequently an investigation was launched against the villagers, and police summoned them and interrogated them about their request to be allowed to return. Among the questions posed were: “Are you going to return to the village to help the terrorist organisation?”, “What is your purpose for returning to the village?” and “Who drafted the petition for you?”
The villagers withdrew their petition in response to the investigation.
Turkish security forces evacuated more than 3,000 Kurdish villages citing security reasons from the 1980s on. Over a ten-year period between 1991 and 2001, 3,206 villages were either evacuated or burnt to the ground according to one study. Around two million Kurds living in Turkey have been displaced due to the conflicts between Turkey and PKK.